Thrift Store Challenge: Christmas Tray

It's time for another Thrift Store Challenge where some blogger friends and I see what we can make out of items we've thrifted, found, or have lying around our homes! Last month I repurposed some vintage clock doors into wall art for my bathroom. This time I'll be making a hot cocoa tray to match my holiday decor!


I didn't find much to transform while thrifting so I decided to shop my home for this challenge. This tray was from a project that never happened and has been lying around my house for years! I've almost donated it several times because it just doesn't get used so when I spotted it while looking for a project, I decided to finally turn it into something that deserved to take up space in my home! And if I failed, I'd finally have a reason to get rid of it.



I thought about turning it into a Christmas sign, but decided to keep it as a tray instead. I wanted to have something festive to serve hot chocolate and snacks on while my family enjoys our favorite Christmas movies in the month to come. My holiday decor is fairly neutral with lots of emphasis on patterns and textures. Plaid is my favorite pattern any time of year, but especially around the holidays so I knew I'd be happy with a neutral, plaid tray.

I started by removing my hardware and flipping my tray over so the bottom would become the top. I wanted as much serving space as possible and I liked the look of the tray being slightly raised.


Next I used an extra wide painters tape to mark off my lines for a buffalo check pattern. I like to decorate with a lot of woods so I wanted to let the wood show through rather than completely painting over it. For this reason, I only used one color of paint for this project (a sample jar or Behr's "cracked pepper" I had) and just varied my thickness.



I left my plain wood board as my background and dry-brushed the cracked pepper over the top. Then I did an even lighter coat of dry-brushing followed by a completely painted layer. I did make a slight mistake with my method. My dry-brushed layers ended up looking too similar in the end. What I should have done was switch up what order I did my hues in so they wouldn't be next to each other OR go even lighter or darker with one of my dry-brushed layers. I fixed this by going back in and shading one set of squares darker just to make them a little more distinct. It worked, but it would've looked better if I'd placed my colors differently in the beginning.



Lastly, I carefully painted the edge of my tray to give it a more finished look and reattached my hardware.




All that was left to do was load up my tray with hot chocolate and peppermint bark, grab a plaid blanket, start my favorite Christmas movie (Home Alone), and snuggle up with my family for the first of many cozy nights in this season!



I'm really glad I decided to flip the tray and give myself a bigger surface to work with and I'm pretty pleased with how this project turned out overall! I didn't make it into anything new, it's still a tray, but it definitely got an upgrade and will get a lot more use now. And I spent NO money on this project by using materials I already had on hand! We'll be using this little tray all through the holiday season for movies nights, hot cocoa, charcuterie boards, and coffee table decor!


Be sure to check out all the other amazing projects from this Thrift Store Challenge below!


Emily from Le Cultivateur

Jodi from The House House


Danya from A Vintage Flare Farmhouse


Cindy from Cloches and Lavender


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